As I said earlier, we're going to look at Psalm 150. As we prepare for the Lord's Table you might wonder, Why would I choose that Psalm as a preparation for the Lord's Table? And the answer of course is that it is a psalm that calls us to praise the Lord, and that for which we are eager to praise Him is the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
Before we look at the psalm, some of you who are television aficionados and watch or listen to commercials no doubt are as startled as I am over some of them. One recent commercial produced by the Hebrew National Frankfurter Company pushes the product as to its appeal and says with an ominous voice at the end of the commercial, "We have to answer to a higher authority." Playing on the Jewish character of those kosher hot dogs as if God is somehow in the kitchen overseeing the process.
I'm not the only person to have observed that particular commercial. Well-known New York critic and communications theorist Neil Postman, who's written a number of books, is also concerned about commercials like that because they fit into what he calls the trivializing of serious matters. It is, to put it mildly, trivial to assume that God is concerned about a hot dog recipe. Postman, commenting on that commercial, says, "What we are talking about here is not blasphemy, but trivialization against which there can be no laws."
Postman observes the trivializing of sacred things, of things of value, of traditional symbols for the sake of marketing. Postman also observes that the TV commercials we see are not concerned with the nature of the products, but they are concerned with the nature of the people who consume them. That is to say, you don't ever hear a description of a product. Nobody ever explains to you the product. Extensive marketing surveys are conducted rather to determine not the quality of the product, but the profile of the potential consumer. Images of movie stars, beautiful people, models, famous athletes, pictures of serene lakes and majestic mountains and macho fishing trips. Elegant dinners, romantic interludes, happy families packing their station wagon for a picnic in the country, that doesn't tell you anything about any product. But what it does tell you is everything about the fantasies, the fancies, the wishes, the hopes, the dreams, the fears of the consumer.
In this kind of setting Postman says, "The business of business becomes psychotherapy. The consumer, the patient, is reassured by psychodramas." And one of the most clear illustrations of this is the “I-love-you-man” psychodrama which is endeavoring to sell beer, I think, but nothing is ever said about the beer. Certainly nobody says this stuff tastes foul and it's likely to ruin your life and cause you to crash your car. But somehow it's all caught up in being loved and that's where commercials have come, to a kind of psychodrama all veered at the consumer's fantasies and fancies and whims and wishes and longings and fears. All of that to say, "Would we be extending our reach to suggest that this is precisely what has happened in evangelical attitudes toward worship?"
We haven't really begun to blaspheme, but we really have begun to trivialize, and to trivialize based upon some consumer whims. I would never say that evangelicalism is overtly or explicitly denying the Trinity. I'm not saying that evangelical churches are denying the two natures of Christ, that He is fully God and fully man. Nor is there an outright denial of original sin. There is no particular assault on the substitutionary atonement of Christ and the resurrection, justification, sanctification, or the second coming because you really don't have to do that. You don't have to attack it. All you have to do is trivialize it. Just reduce it to something humorous, funny, or fanciful.
All that is necessary is just to trivialize God, trivialize Scripture, and any other biblical theme right along with the marketing mentality and the spirit of the age. The emphasis, you see, today is on felt needs--the desire of the consumer, and that's true in the church. It's not on the desire of God; it's not on God's person, God's work, God's will, God's character is not the major issue. He has been replaced by the consumer and now, instead of great doctrine and sound theology, you have psychodrama meant somehow to meet the whims of the consumer.
Michael Horton wrote an interesting article that is related to this kind of thinking, and he talks about the commercialization of the American flag and says it ends up being trivialized to the point where it can be worn on clothing or even burned in public spectacle. He says, "While many Christian leaders would issue the gravest invectives against the burning of the American flag, how many stand up for the desecration of God at the local Christian bookstore where t-shirts and other paraphernalia are sold with ‘This Blood's for You’ printed over a mock beer can? Or Jesus portrayed as doing push-ups with a cross with the line 'God's Gym; bench press this.'" Blasphemy. Certainly trivialization. "Taken into the church sanctuary itself," writes Horton, "this trivialization of the sacred takes the form of shallow, repetitive ditties in which God's name is taken in vain and the music bears striking familiarity to commercial jingles."
He goes on to say, "It's with so many other useless products that we buy because of clever advertising and smooth, caressing images. Before long we become bored with this trivialized deity. We move on like the consumers in John 6 who followed Jesus after the free lunch, but left Him after He began teaching the hard doctrines, their stomachs growling for the next meal."
If you trivialize God, if you trivialize Scripture, you're going to trivialize a congregation of bored people, bored with a trivialized deity who are short-term looking for their next thrill. How absolutely and utterly contrary this is to anything that the Bible teaches about worship. The focus of worship is never on the worshiper, it is on the one being worshiped. It is never on the consumer. We cannot gear our message toward you; we must gear it toward God. He must be the focus of everything, and what we say and what we preach and what we sing and what we play must all focus on God and His marvelous work and will.
A flippant style betrays a flippant theology. Marshall McLuhan was right when he said, "The medium is the message." You cannot separate the medium from the message any more than the body can be divorced from the soul. The way in which we worship God implies the way in which we think about God. The way in which we worship God implies what we believe about God. God is part of that content. A trivial church has a trivial faith in an assumed trivial God. How a church worships is of tremendous significance, and I have said to some recently in all of my travels around the world and across this country I've been in a lot of churches, and I can tell by sitting in a worship service in any church how they view God because the content is the style. It's inseparable. You can't say, "Well, yeah, we got a kind of a different style, but our theology's really sound." Our church worship betrays how it thinks about God.
Now, of all times for praise to our great God and of all times for deep and righteous thinking about God, none is more compelling than the communion table because it is here that we remember God's gift of the Savior as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. It is here where we praise God for his greatest work, the work of redeeming sinners. We can praise Him for a lot of other things and we didn't do that fittingly, but nothing is as glorious as this which is our redemption. You remember the sacrifice of Christ in the bread and the cup, and at no point do we reach a higher level of thanks and praise for this is that which affects our eternal destiny. Here then is reason above all others for a true and a deep and a fitting praise.
And so as I was thinking about the Lord's Table for this Sunday, I was thinking about praise and how we ought to be worshiping and praising our great God for the great gift of His Son and our consequent great salvation, and I asked the question, How would God want us to thank Him? How would God want us to praise Him? How would God want us to worship Him for the cross of Christ?
Well, I found the answer when I turned to Psalm 150. If we're going to worship God as He wants to be worshiped, if we're going to praise Him as He deserves to be praised, what are we to do? Psalm 150 answers that.
What does it mean to really praise God? What does it mean to praise God in a fitting manner? Psalm 150 provides us with the answer and this psalm is as germane to us today as it was the day it was written. There is nothing in this psalm about specific acts of God. This psalm is applied to anything and everything for which we would praise God, and for us the supreme thing is the sacrifice of Christ.
Notice how the psalm begins, "Praise the Lord." That's a command. “Praise the Lord.” And that command, by the way, is repeated thirteen times in this culminating psalm in the Psalter. Thirteen times we are called to praise Him. This call to praise is an appropriate culmination of the Psalms. The Psalms, you remember, is a whole book of praise. This is a fitting culmination.
Let me tell you why. If you study the Psalms you see an interesting flow in the way that it is put together. In the early section of the Psalms there are many psalms of sadness, psalms of lament, psalms of suffering and pain and sorrow and trouble and difficulty. Many of those psalms we identify with as they reflect the pain of the human condition, as they reflect the suffering of living in this fallen world, and the sadness that so easily finds its way into our human existence. But as you begin to move through the Psalms, the psalms of lament begin to give way to psalms of joy and thanksgiving and praise and exhilaration. And the closer you get to the final psalm, the more the crescendo of praise and thanks and joy and rejoicing gets louder until finally it culminates in the pinnacle of psalms, Psalm 150, which is pure praise--pure praise. And what you have then here in the Psalms is really the path of the believer's life from suffering to glory. The path of the believer's life from pain to praise.
Psalm 150 then is a in a real sense the culmination of the glory, the hope, and the praise, which should be in the hearts of the people of God. This is the peak when you've come through all the valleys of life and all the pain of life and you've ascended and climbed all the way up to the peak of praise and you're on the top of the Everest looking down over everything below you--you're at Psalm 150, pure praise.
And so we could ask the question then, How does this psalm direct us to praise God? If we're going to praise God today for the provision of Jesus Christ, how are we going to do that? What does this psalm tell us? Well, the psalmist like a good journalist covers all the issues. In this psalm he talks about the where, the why, the how, and the who of praise. Where do we praise, why do we praise, how do we praise, and who is to praise.
Let's start with the first one: where. Where? Verse 1, "Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty expanse." Expanse. First of all, we praise God in His sanctuary. What does that mean? Well, His temple, His holy place which was the place where His people gathered for worship. You remember that in the time of the Psalms, the people gathered in the temple to worship God. Go back to Psalm 149 and look at verse 1 and you will see there that we are to praise Him in the congregation of the godly.
The first thing the psalmist wants to say is you praise him in the place where His people gather for worship. Beloved, we come together on the Lord's Day here for the purpose of praising God. You say, "Well, why do you preach?" Very simple--to give you more to praise Him for. Why do we teach you the Bible? So that you'll know Him better and you'll understand what He has done better and you'll have more for which to praise Him.
Furthermore, so that you'll have instruction as to how to live to His praise. Everything is geared to worship and glorify and praise God, and the focal point of everything is God. When God's people gather, it is to focus on Him, and my job and the job of Clayton Erb, or whoever's leading the worship, is to pull you all together in praise. We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Hebrews 10:25 says you need this. You need to be involved in praising God collectively with His redeemed people in that place which is His sanctuary, and He dwells or inhabits the praise of His people.
Now I know that there are plenty of Christians who like to think that they can just be content to worship God any place and they don't really need to be with His assembled saints. I hear people sometimes say, "Well, the smaller the church the better, and if it just gets down to a few, I like it even better." I'm the opposite--the bigger the better. The more praise, the louder it is, the more I love it. The more exhilarating, the more it lifts my heart. I thank God for the great congregations of God's people who come together and worship and praise Him.
The psalmist is calling to communal worship, communal praise. When God's people come together and focus on corporate praise, and that as I said is the actual purpose of our coming together. All through the history of Israel, there were the Sabbath assemblies in the synagogues, there were the holy convocations in Jerusalem for all the people. The assembly of the saints is the place where God is to be praised. We come together for that purpose, to praise God. To lift up God. But secondly, it's not limited only; it's also unlimited.
The second statement in verse 1: "Praise him in his mighty expanse." That's another term for the heavens. That's another term for the created universe and what the psalmist is here saying is, "Collectively we praise him when we gather as assembled saints in His presence. Individually we praise Him anywhere and everywhere in His entire universe." This command to praise sweeps through the infinity of creation and calls for praise throughout all that is in the heavens, wherever you are on this planet. Wherever you are flying around this planet. Wherever you are in outer space. Wherever you are in any place, you are to praise Him--praise that is not just a collective function of God's redeemed people brought together. It is also an individual function of God's child as he lifts up his heart or she lifts up her heart anywhere and everywhere to the praise of God. Not just on the Lord's Day, but every day.
Back in Psalm 149, verse 5 says, "Let them sing for joy on their beds." But whether you're waking, sleeping or wherever you are, even when you pillow your head, let praise come out of your mouth, verse 6 says. Let the high praises of God, lofty praises, not trivial things, not shallow things, not trite things. Lofty, high things even when you lie down in your bed. And nothing is as solitary as that, is it? From the great convocations of the assembled saints all the way down to the most private moment in your own bed and everywhere in between, you are to be praising the Lord continually.
So where? In the assembly of the saints and everywhere--in the assembly of the saints collectively; everywhere individually. You need this assembly. You are commanded to be a part of God's people brought together for the purpose of praise. It's a foolish thing to avoid this. Some people, you know, they, well, I can worship the Lord at the beach and I can worship the Lord on the golf course. I even heard about a pastor who went to play golf on a Sunday morning and when his deacons came to him and said, "Why in the world would you do that?" He tried to be spiritual and he said, "Because I would rather be on the golf course thinking about church than in church thinking about golf."
It's probably an apocryphal story, but maybe not too far from the truth in some cases. Better you should be in church thinking about church and on the golf course thinking about golf. You'll do better on both counts.
Where? Everywhere and here in the assembly of God's people. Second question: Why? Why are we to have such unceasing, incessant praise going on everywhere? The answer comes in verse 2. Why just as there are two locations for praise, there are two reasons for praise. Number one: praise him for his mighty deeds. The first thing we are called to do is to praise God for what He has done. You remember the contemporary chorus, “Praise the Almighty for What He Has Done.” And that's accurate. “Praise Him for what He has done, His mighty deeds.”
If you go back to Psalm 146, for example, and these are just illustrations; there are many others. In verse 6, you praise Him “who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever”--that is, He is faithful to His promise--“who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry...sets the prisoners free...opens the eyes of the blind;...raises up those that are bowed down...loves the righteous;...protects the strangers;...supports the fatherless and the widow,...thwarts the way of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!" So you can go through the litany of everything God has done that is a motivation for praise.
Recite his wonderful works; that's pure praise. We sing songs and hymns that speak of what God has done. We remember what He has done in our prayers. Songs are sung by soloists and quartets and groups and the choir and played by the orchestra that rehearsed the great things that God has done. He has created this universe. He sustains it. He is the one who delivers us from death and sin and hell. He is the one who is our Savior. He has saved us and redeemed us. He is the one who continues to protect us. He keeps His covenant with us. He gives us continuing life. All that he has done--you can study the Old Testament for no other reason than just to praise God. You can go back to Genesis and you can just recite God's wonderful works and say that God one day stepped out on the edge of nothing and created everything. He spun into the void the whirling worlds that we know as planets. He scattered across the sky the blazing stars and suns and moons that we know. In the infinity of His universe He created this planet and then he stooped down to this planet and on it created living things and finally man and breathed into him the breath of life. And he was made in His own image and He put him in a paradise, and when he sinned and fell He sought to redeem him and in that process He called out a people whom He delivered from bondage by the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. And miracle after miracle all the way up to the life of Jesus and His death and His resurrection and rehearse and recite all the great things God has done. That is praise. That is praise.
Secondly, we praise Him not only for what He has done, but for who He is. Verse 2 says, "Praise Him because of His excellent greatness." Now we're talking about His character, His person. Praise Him for His sovereignty, His immutability, His omniscience, His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His almighty power, His grace, His mercy, His goodness, His kindness, His holiness, His faithfulness, His justice, His wisdom, and on and on and on you go. And that's exactly what you read in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is the record of what God has done and it is the revelation of who He is. Mainly you study the Old Testament so that you can know God and know what He has done and respond accordingly in praise and obedience.
So when you praise God you praise Him for what He has done and for who He is. Recite His glorious attributes. That's praise. Thank Him for all of those things and many more that I've just mentioned that are true about His character. Not to speak of His great love which He has loved us with and by which He sent Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, we see in this psalm not only the where of praise and the why of praise, but the how of praise--and this is quite a remarkable section because in verses 3 to 5 the largest part of this psalm is devoted to the how. It speaks of instrument means with trumpet sound, harp and lyre, timbrel and dancing, stringed instruments, pipe, loud cymbals and resounding cymbals--we are to praise Him.
Now a variety of means are given here to praise Him. But let me tell you what is not given here, which I find most interesting. It doesn't say anything about any words. It doesn't say anything about any words of praise. All it describes is accompanying means, sounds, and motions. It doesn't say anything about words. You say are then we to offer God wordless praise? No. No. Back in Psalm 149:1 it says, "Praise the Lord.” How? “Sing to the Lord a new song." Many places in the psalms we are told to sing songs. To praise God with our lips and the writer of Hebrews rehearses that.
No, it is already established that we are to use words; we are to recite His attributes. It says it right there, "Praise Him for His mighty deeds. Praise Him for His excellent greatness." The rehearsal of His attributes, the rehearsal of His mighty deeds--but you have here is just the accompaniment to that. And in the culmination of praise the emphasis is on praising God with all your might. Calling together all means possible to the exhilaration of praise. Use strings, and by the way, the main musical instruments in Israel are mentioned here in the categories of strings, percussion, and wind instruments. It mentions harp, lyre, and stringed instruments. In the percussion field it mentions cymbals twice, which could include the bells we heard this morning, and timbrel, which is another word for a tambourine. And in the case of wind instruments, you have trumpet and you have pipe, which would be a clarinet, a flute--any kind of pipe like that.
These would be the categories of the typical instruments used by the Jews in their musical expression. And what the Psalmist is saying is just gather up everything in exuberant expression of praise by every means. It even throws in a physical means, which is dancing.
Now, as you look at those instruments, many things come to mind. Your context is very different from theirs. When you hear “praise him with a trumpet sound,” you might think about your favorite secular trumpet player. When you think about harp and lyre you might think about somebody who plays a guitar in a contemporary environment. Timbrel and dancing you might think about somebody pounding a tambourine on their hip and doing some kind of bluegrass. And with stringed instruments you might think of some glorious string, beautiful stringed instrument like Pachelbel's “Canon” or something like that. And with flute or clarinet, if you're old enough, you might think of Benny Goodman--who knows what you'd think of. And loud cymbals and resounding cymbals you might think of John Phillip Souza and some crashing of those instruments to some great marches performed or played.
But that wouldn't be what the Jews thought about. In fact, their praise was enhanced not only musically, but it was enhanced historically by these instruments. Let me tell you why. When you read the psalmist saying here, if you really want to worship God get out the trumpets, get out the stringed instruments, and get out everything you can bang. He's saying that because these instruments are so richly attached to Jewish history.
Let me tell you what I mean by that. Consider the trumpet. When a Jew saw and heard a trumpet, what did he think of? Any devout Jew would remember the great religious ceremonies and festivals. Trumpets were blown to announce the official sacrifices at Jerusalem. Trumpets were blown to announce the Day of Atonement. Trumpets were blown on that glorious day when the ark of God arrived in Jerusalem. Trumpets were blown to call the people to worship. Trumpets were blown to call the people to battle. Trumpets were blown to announce that a king was anointed and ascending his throne.
So you see a trumpet carried with it a whole lot of history. It was like a symbol of glorious memories that had enriched their life.
Consider the harp and the lyre in verse 3. These were instruments of joy played at the dedication of the temple, they were. Played at the dedication of the new walls of the rebuilt Jerusalem. What a great event that was. And harp and lyre were often played to accompany prophecy and sacrifices. They were played to celebrate victory in battle, such as in 2 Chronicles 5 and Nehemiah 12:27-28. These lovely, sweet, plucking sounds of praise would not only give emotional expression to the heart's worship, but remind the Jews of all those great events of their history. And then there was timbrel, or tambourine, and dancing. Here also you have means of joy. The tambourine, a percussion instrument with a little tinkling sound used to express great joy. This kind of tambourine, by the way, was used to celebrate military victories. It was a celebrating instrument, and it would remind the people of great triumph and great celebration as God had moved in their history past.
And what about dancing? Well, you've got to divorce what you understand about dancing, what you've been exposed to, from this. We're not talking here about couples, and we're not talking about any form of dancing that you would see in our secular culture. We're not talking about anything immoral, anything carnal, anything with any sexual overtones, anything that is any less than an expression of godly joy.
You say, well, did the Jewish people have this kind of dance? Yes. Dance is contrasted regularly in Scripture with one other thing, and that is mourning. In the book of Ecclesiastes it says there's a time to dance and a time to mourn. Mourning was sackcloth, ashes, weariness, bent over, humiliation. And the opposite was joy and exuberance in the expression of dance. Dance was used to celebrate military victory. For example, we find Miriam the sister of Moses dancing and leading the women of Israel in dance and playing the tambourine. And they were celebrating, remember, Exodus 15 the grounding of Pharaoh in the Red Sea and the deliverance of the Israelites. And all the women were jumping around and hitting their tambourines and rejoicing with great joy. We find repeated reference to how women danced--for example to celebrate the victory of Saul, the victories of David over the enemies of God. In Judges 21 the women were dancing about the harvest celebration, skipping along and perhaps waving their arms in the air and lightly tripping around and leaping in the air just to show their great joy.
Now the dance is not particularly recorded in Scripture as used for worship in Israel. In other words, in the collective worship we don't see it. The only time we see it is a bad time. Exodus 32, when they had made the golden calf and they were dancing before the golden calf. But in the worship of Jehovah we find no instance of dancing as a regular part of corporate worship. But it was a way in which an individual could express joy, and probably the best illustration of it is in 2 Samuel 6, and I won't look it up because time is gone, but I'll tell you the story. Second Samuel 6, David was so excited when the ark of God came and was delivered, he was so exuberant that it says he danced before the Lord in a linen ephod. Now what is a linen ephod? That's just a plain linen cloak. It's just...he just wore a plain linen deal. You say, Why did they make an issue out of that? Because he was the king and normally he wore kingly garments. Normally he had on all the trappings of royalty. But he just threw off all his trappings and he danced before the Lord in just the linen ephod, the common dress of any everyday person. And you know his wife Michal, who was a big social climber, this woman. She saw him dancing, it says, and she despised him. She despised him. You know what bothered her was that he would humiliate himself like that. She didn't like it unless he had on all of his royal garb. She was into all of that, and she didn't think it was appropriate for the king to just get out there and dress like a common person and just jump around, and it says he was leaping before the Lord. I mean he was so filled with joy it just came out in his bodily expression. And so she just let him have it. She just rained on his parade. And he said to her in 2 Samuel 6, "I will humble myself and I will show my joy and thanks to the Lord because it's right." And then you know what God did? He cursed her so she never had a child until the day she died. She was cursed for condemning David for dancing in humility before the Lord. That was a pretty sacred event if it ended up in a curse on one who despised it.
Sacred kind of expression of joy in dance where you just sort of are so filled with joy that it all comes out in some physical expression. I love sometimes to watch a happy child, watch my little grandchildren skip. Why do they skip? Why do children skip? What's making them skip? It's not genetics. It's what? Its joy isn't it? They're happy about something. Or sometimes you go and you watch them and they're dancing around and jumping around and delightfully singing a little song. What is that? That's joy. That's what David was doing, and there's a place for that kind of expression.
Then he goes on to talk about the stringed instruments—strings; flutes being the pipe. Those are instruments used generally for other occasions of joy. You find them throughout Israel's history. They were also very common. Cymbals, I don't know if you remember this, cymbals, resounding cymbals like these bells--those kinds of things were used in the sacrifices, so they also were used in the moving of the ark of the covenant. So all of these instruments, aside from just being means by which praise can be enhanced, become symbols of great redemptive history. So what is God saying through the psalm? Just gather up all the means and pull together all the memories and just pour out praise to God. It's a magnificent picture.
The greatest description, by the way, of this kind of praise I think is found in 1 Chronicles 13:8, because in 1 Chronicles 13:8 you have the arrival of the ark and David; it says, "And all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with songs and lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and with trumpets.” There it is, the whole orchestra, and the key phrase “with all their might.” Now Clayton said to you this morning after you sung those hymns, "That is great singing." And some of you were singing with all your might, weren't you?
Now you need the corporate fellowship to do that, to sing with all your might and worship the Lord with all your might. And when the orchestra is here or the clangors are here, or whatever it is, it helps to lift us--tremendously exciting.
You don't want to do that in class. You don't want to worship the Lord with all your might in class at school. You can't do that. You don't want to do that in the office. You don't want to take out your trumpet and blow to the top of your lungs and sing “And Can It Be” at the top of your voice in the office. You don't want to do that. You can't do that there. You need to come here and do it with the rest of us. We're safe in here to do that. You don't want to do that at McDonald's--they'll put you out--or Coco's either, for that matter.
Now you might get away with it into the speaker phone at In and Out, but it's marginal. If you're going to do this kind of corporate worship, you need to be, in most cases, with God's redeemed people, and of course there are those private times. I don't know about you, but I find some of my greatest times of worshiping the Lord are in the car when I'm by myself and the windows are up and I'm just having a great old time.
So we want to praise God with all our might. Well, when we gather to remember the glorious person and work of God our Savior who sent His Son to die for us, our minds should be so full of the reality of our great salvation, our hearts so full of the joy of our salvation, our bodies so full of the emotion of our salvation, that we sing and play with all our might accompanied by trumpets or bells or French horns or that box over there that can sound like any instrument.
And here we are doing just that with all our might. And our songs are on God as our Creator, Sustainer, Preserver, Redeemer--how wonderful.
Finally, Who? Who is to do this? Verse 6, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." “Praise the Lord.” If you're breathing you're supposed to do it. That's why God is so offended by the ungodly because they refuse to praise Him. They are not thankful, as Romans 1 says. They will not glorify Him. But all of us created by God, all of us given breath by God, all of us redeemed by God, all of us saved by Christ, “praise the Lord.” “Praise the Lord.” “Praise the Lord.” Don't make the focus of your life you; make the focus of your life Him. Don't trivialize the great glory of our great God. We must be God centered. Again I say, many today are not denying great doctrines; they're just trivializing God in shallow praise. May our praise be deep and rich and understanding praise, as in response to a knowledge of the truth we praise God in a way that is fitting--and especially for the gift of His Son.
Let's pray. Our Father, again we thank You for this privilege of praising You. We couldn't do it if we weren't Your own. We thank You for saving us and making us true worshipers. And now, Lord, as we come to this table, we do so with a desire that we might really praise you from the heart. We confess our sins and ask You to cleanse us and wash us and make us clean so that we do not take of the bread and the cup unworthily. I pray that every person here will ask for cleansing, hold on to no known sin, but yield them all up, seek to be washed so that we can truly praise You for the God You are who gave us Your Son as our Savior.